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Q                                                                                                         A. MARESYEV
pictured the dark-haired newspaper man who had^spent
a night in my dugout. The next day I made a point of
tuning in at nine o'clock in the morning. I could hardly
believe my ears. Polevoi had written about me.
That same evening I called on him at his home and
he told me that he had looked for me during the war
but had been unable to find me. We travelled different
roads to victory. He described his work in army archives
and how he recapitulated the details of our talk with the
aid of his hasty notes.
That evening saw the beginning of my close friendship
with Boris Polevoi. Unfortunately we meet very rarely,
only at conferences and meetings, and sometimes in our
homes. But for me these are always memorable occa-
sions, for Polevoi is a bottomless well of ideas and
observations, and it's always a thrill just to listen to him.
But there was an occasion when we were together for
quite a few days. It was in the United States where we
were invited by American war veterans. It was Polevoi's
second visit to the US. During his first visit a well-known
journalist maintained that as an ex-airman he could not
believe the story of Alexei Maresyev. He said it was
all the work of Polevoi's imagination. On this visit
Polevoi introduced me to the American as "material
evidence". But I don't think even that made him change
his mind.
Today Pelevoi is 60. He has been working in Soviet
literature for more than forty years. He has written four
novels and seventeen volumes of short stories and
sketches. He does not think of rest, even in his sleep. It's
the profession he has chosen. The profession of a
journalist. I have not made a slip of the pen. He is a
writer, but he's got the tenacity and vitality of a journalist.
He's always travelling, always looking, always making
Were I a man of letters I would most certainly have
written A Story About a Real Man, of a courageous and
mercurial war-time correspondent, of a distinguished
writer and journalist, of a fine friend and a REAL
MAN—of Boris Polevoi.